Microsoft is one of multiple companies considering acquiring social game developer CrowdStar, creator of Happy Aquarium
and Happy Island
, according to reports that emerged today.
Citing anonymous sources said to be close to the matter, Bloomberg reports
CrowdStar has not yet decided to pursue an acquisition; the privately-held company may instead look to obtain more non-controlling venture capital investment.
Burlingame, California-based CrowdStar is one of the most popular application developers on Facebook, with tracking site AppData listing it as having the fourth-highest monthly active user count
, just after Facebook itself -- and just ahead of Electronic Arts, which recently acquired rival social developer Playfish.
CrowdStar has seen extremely rapid growth. It is a younger company than any of the other top six Facebook developers, having been founded in 2008 and only having publicly emerged from "stealth mode" last November.
EA acquired Playfish for $300 million to $400 million, depending on performance milestones; Bloomberg reports CrowdStar is valued in the $200 million neighborhood.
Microsoft has operated an online casual gaming portal, now known as MSN Games, since 1996. It has evolved to serve various purposes; at times it included matchmaking features for a number of core games. Most recently, Microsoft signaled its intention to introduce social gaming to MSN Games by partnering with Zynga, the number one Facebook game developer, to host FarmVille